Writing to Summarize

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SWBAT read a story, take notes about the story, and write a summary of the story.

Big Idea

Students will understand the importance of reading with the purpose of gaining information and being able to give an accurate account of what they've read.


10 minutes

We've been working all week with Setting a Purpose to read and summarizing. Students have gone from discussing what they've read to taking notes about what they've read and now to verbally summarizing what they've read based on notes they've taken while they read. Now its time to apply all of these strategies to summarizing through writing. All of the lessons prior to this one, have lead up to students being able to express themselves in writing. This is sometimes difficult for students, but I felt like having been working on this for several days, would ease students' anxieties about writing and perhaps they would even be a little excited about it. 

To introduce this lesson, we revisit the the "Book Report" segment from Brain Pop Jr. I love using brain pop because its interactive and the students really are engaged as they are watching it. They can also visit it over and over again as a reference. As we revisit, we move to the portion where Annie, the little girl who narrates us through how to write a book report, shows us how she takes notes. We review how we followed this process yesterday. Next we move to actually looking at Annie's summary section of her book report. Using our anchor chart, we look to see if we can see the ideas we stated you should look for while reading and taking notes. We highlight, ideas that we see in her writing that relate to our anchor chart. 

Next we re-read Annie's summary section but this time i tell students to read like authors. In other words, I want them to read to listen for Annie's voice and how she shares her summary through writing.


15 minutes

At this time, we take a look at the model notes I took in the previous lesson. I let the class know that I am going to model for them how to use the notes to summarize. We gather together at the back of the room as I begin to do a writing think aloud using chart paper. I wanted to use old fashion chart paper so students could see what it would look like for them as they write on their papers.

I begin my "write aloud" looking at my notes and asking myself, where should I begin. I use this approach so that students can visualize the thought process that goes into writing a summary about something you've read. Of course the students say with the character. So I begin to write about the character, asking myself, what is important for the reader to know about the character. Students say to tell who he is and what he wants. Another student says this will lead us into what the character wants and his problem so we should include that next. We continue with this conversation until we have a pretty simplistic summary. I ask students to read it to themselves like an author. Next I ask them can we add anything to it that would make it a little more interesting for the reader. Students begin to give their ideas for making it better. 

This leads us into a finished summary students can use as a mentor to writing their summary.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Students begin to return to their seats so they can begin writing a summary for the stories they've been reading independently. I leave the anchor chart up for students as well as they mentor summary for students to refer to. As students write, I remind them to write in an interesting way and to remember to refer back to their notes. 

When students are finished, they pair up with a student from another reading group to share their summaries. They discuss their books and their summaries.

Finally, we make use of "Author's Chair" and I allow a student from each group to share their summary with the class.

Wrap up

5 minutes

We spend this time reviewing what we've done this week. We talk about the many purposes we can set to read and how doing so helps us better understand what we've read. We also talk about how note taking also helps us understand the most important parts about what we read and how to summarize what we've read for others.